Plans to pedestrianise the roads around the Strand/Aldwych gyratory are being brought forward. Westminster council has approved £18 million worth of changes to the area which will create a traffic-free space centred around St Mary le Strand Church.
Improvement plans for Strand/Aldwych have been in development for several years, but Westminster Council and local partners are said to be keen to see works start as soon as possible. The accelerated timescale will see Strand become traffic-free in front of Somerset House and King’s College London by August 2021.
Through temporary measures, the final scheme design can also now be tested before being made permanent.
Apart from creating a lot more pedestrian space, the council expects that the area will become a site for festivals and art installations.
The pedestrian and cycle zone will be on Strand between Lancaster Place and Surrey Street. The area of the Strand between Surrey Street, Arundel Street and Melbourne Place will remain open to buses, cyclists and for access, not least to provide a loop for the buses that currently terminate on Aldwych.
To offset the loss of space to the south of Aldwych, traffic around The Aldwych road will change from one-way west-to-east into two way traffic. The Cabinet Member decision report says the planned changes will not increase traffic volume in the area overall.
The council is however still working on securing a funding package to deliver the full scheme, which was costed at around £28 million when announced last year.